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Colon making the switch to guard

Posted May 16, 2012

Steelers’ offensive lineman Willie Colon is back after missing the last two seasons injured, but don’t look for him at tackle.

Colon revealed today that he has been working at the left guard spot, a position where he is likely to be the starter on opening day.

“They moved me to left guard now. I am learning that," said  Colon. “That is a challenge for me. As a tackle you are used to just being an athlete, left on an island. But as a guard I am between the tackle and (Maurkice) Pouncey, the verbiage and how to work with those guys I am learning. When you are in the middle things happen faster. When I am at tackle I have the whole side of the sideline to work with. At guard I am in a box where I have to work faster and react faster. I have to be more aware of calls. On the flip side I get to get after people.

“I am excited to get out there. I know the sky is the limit for us as a line. We have the young kids (David) DeCastro and Mike Adams. The biggest thing that always gets us is the injury bug, but if we can stay strong and healthy we should be the one or two best line in the league.”

The Steelers used their top two draft choices on offensive linemen this year, taking DeCastro, who is projected as a right guard, and Adams, who could start at tackle. And shortly after that, Colon learned of his position change.

“It’s so funny,” said Colon. “Before the draft it was never heard of, I was staying at tackle. We drafted DeCastro and I get a call the next day that we are moving you to guard. I was never against it. It wasn’t something I frowned upon. For me to still be here, still be a Steeler and still have the chance to crack that starting lineup, I am blessed. I just want to compete and be the best that I can be.”

The Steelers begin OTAs on Tuesday, May 22, giving Colon a large portion of the offseason to learn the guard spot.

“I was never against the transition,” said Colon. “The only knock I ever had was if you want me to play guard don’t ask me to play guard week one against Baltimore and I have been playing tackle my whole career. If moving to guard was going to happen, this was the best time for it to happen where I can learn and go through the mistakes and work on my mechanics when I have time, work on it and get better from there.

“Since I have been here people have said Willie if you go to guard you can be All Pro; Willie if you go to guard you can be this. Because I go to guard and have the potential doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I have to work my tail off to be a good guard at this level.”

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